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Microsoft: Back In The Mix. Developers, Developers, Developers Reprised

When you attend a conference there is always a danger of going native, enjoying the Cool-Aid a little too much, so it pays to give it a couple of days before commenting. I wasn’t able to make Microsoft MIX this time around but I did follow it on the web. Unless I am much mistaken, things are looking up for Microsoft.

As a developer advocate company RedMonk tends to have a somewhat different perspective than many of our peers that focus solely on purchasing. With that in mind it would be foolish to write off the Microsoft developer base – now that the company seems to have working out how to (re)address two key markets – mobile and the cloud. Not everything is rosy, but Microsoft does seem to have dealt with some important hygiene factors. Now it just needs to enthuse its huge developer base to the tasks and opportunities at hand.

What was bad at MIX? A lot of the scripted jokes fell flat for one. The growing trend to rely on teleprompters at conferences is just awful, in my opinion. When the audience is developers its better to be real than slick. Authenticity is what counts. And if you suck at jokes, don’t let them put them on the teleprompter.

Mobile: Back In The Game

Microsoft needed a hard reset to get back in the game. Apple is so far ahead at this point, with Android also making incredible running in both phones and embedded devices. Windows Mobile was never going to be the competitive foil Microsoft needed.

When the Silverlight team originally told me they were going to be a big part of Microsoft’s newmobile strategy I was skeptical, but after Mix less so.

Microsoft decided, in a decision that is very unusual for Microsoft, to jettison backwards compatibility and Windows Mobile in favour of a new OS foundation and product line called Windows Phone 7 Series. See that’s the thing about consumerisation of IT- its no good worrying about backwards compatibility for the corporate developer if nobody wants to buy your phones.

One thing Silverlight provides is shiny shiny user experiences. Deep zoom + multitouch is not here yet (but it will be). Another thing Silverlight offers is cross platform support. Like Adobe needing to consolidate to one version of Flash for phones and PCs, Microsoft needed to move forward with a single development runtime. Silverlight is it. Some would say Microsoft should have doubled down on HTML and Javascript as its mobile development model, but we’ll put that argument on hold for now. Microsoft commitment to Silverlight is absolute at this point. and Loic certainly seems to like it. Seesmic is hot.

The new hotness, as we all know, is app stores. That’s the other essential part of the new mobile model. One point of clear blue water between Apple and Microsoft is a willingness to compromise – and only one of the companies is going to support private app stores. This could be a big deal. Say you’re a Fortune 500 company that builds an app for employees. You roll it out to 20k employees… then…. you find a bug. With the Apple permission-based web model – you’d need to resubmit the app to fix the bug. That’s never going to fly in corporate development shops.

There are many many ifs and buts before we can say that Microsoft is going to make a strong mobile play – it has neither the single vendor model of Apple nor the broad OS adoption of Google’s Android… but in mobile shiny is not an optional extra.

Its Friday, and I have a meeting to get to. Luckily this is a natural place to stop before a second part, which looks at the Microsoft cloud story…

disclosure: the graph above comes from Ars Technica, data supplied by Admob. FURTHER DISCLOSURE: Admob is currently being acquired by Google… certainly worth noting. Thanks Stephen.

disclosure: Microsoft is a client.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Comment Feed

26 Responses

  1. Microsoft: Back In The Mix. Developers, Developers, Developers Reprised http://bit.ly/a3pzkM
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Oh, they realised that Windows Mobile isn’t really cutting it? Hurrah!

    Nice to see Microsoft still has the agility of a dead white elephant.

    (I like the comic – that will look good on an iPad. Of course Marvel are releasing media rich comics through the app store..)

  3. It’s worth noting that Apple do have an “Enterprise” developer registration option for the iPhone, which includes in-house distribution:

    “Deploy proprietary, in-house applications to authorized users in your company, the iPhone Developer Enterprise Program is available to companies with 500 or more employees and a Dun & Bradstreet number.”

    http://developer.apple.com/programs/iphone/enterprise/

    • James thanks so much for the potential clarification. i need to find out more about this inhouse enterprise distribution model for sure. i had not heard a sniff of this.

      James GovernorMarch 29, 2010 @ 11:05 amReply
  4. If I was Apple this chart would scare me shirtless. Android is coming http://bit.ly/a3pzkM cc: @timbray http://bit.ly/bGE2A1
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. If I was Apple this chart would scare me shirtless. Android is coming http://bit.ly/a3pzkM cc: @samuelmoorhead
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. ♺ @monkchips: “If I was Apple this chart would scare me shirtless. Android is coming http://bit.ly/a3pzkM ” __That__ is quite staggering!
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  7. Looks like the iPhone is getting some serious competition: http://is.gd/b5b6U – source: http://is.gd/b5b86
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. Actually Microsoft has been very willing to break backwards compatibility for the last decade. It started with the original .NET framework. Then they did it again to those same developers with .NET 2.0. They did it again with Windows Vista and with Internet Explorer 8. So it should not be too surprising that they would do this again for a product (WinMo) that was far less successful.

    • solid point Michael. I tend to think of Microsoft compatibility in terms of old win16 and 32 binaries.

      James GovernorMarch 29, 2010 @ 3:00 pmReply
  9. http://post.ly/WL0o Pssst… Apple… Look behind you! (via http://bit.ly/cmDyja) (via @peterelst)
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  10. Ahha! RT @sjespers: http://post.ly/WL0o Pssst… Apple… Look behind you! (via http://bit.ly/cmDyja) (via @peterelst)
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. the raise of android… http://bit.ly/a3pzkM /via @peterelst
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. Microsoft: Back In The Mix. Developers, Developers, Developers Reprised http://tinyurl.com/ydtxbsl
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Where does admob get their data? Is it through the mobile advertising hits/clicks?

    Surely all that graph shows is that there are mobile adverts being shown to Android users than iPhone users and that’s probably because Android devs are more desperate to monetize their apps. There’s less need to use ads on iPhone because you’re more likely to make money from Apple’s App Store than you are Google’s Market Place.

  14. Android incredible ramp (phones, embedded devices)”If I was Apple this chart..scare, Android coming http://bit.ly/a3pzkM @timbray @monkchips
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  15. Charts that scars Apple & Microsoft… Time to review policies ? http://bit.ly/cmDyja
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  16. Should Apple be concerned about Android? http://idek.net/1EvO
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  17. If I was Apple this chart would scare me shirtless. Android is coming http://bit.ly/a3pzkM cc: @timbray (via @monkchips) – true I love it!
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  18. interesting mobile OS stats by admob: android vs. iphone; fyi admob being acquired by google – http://tinyurl.com/heyapplelookbehindu #flash
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  19. This is a bit of hype but still noteworth re Android adoption: http://bit.ly/d492RD
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  20. It will be a battle of pad’s and phones and netbooks. Not phones only. Apple is pulling up ahead. The low cost guys with use Chrome or Android. Google needs to “merge” those two to some degree.

    The other thing MIX was about was Cloud. Since cost is everything in the cloud, developers better keep their code “portable” or as much as possible. RackSpace, EC2, Google, AT&T, etc. etc. are all in the race. At EC2 it is 30% more to run your Win code than Linux. I keep 30% any day of the week.

  21. Yes of course the screen is gorgeous and the backlight is easily and quickly adjustable. Turning pages is much faster, cover art is gorgeous, the dictionary is easier to use, and full color illustrations are awesomely represented.
    This comment was originally posted on codesurgeon blog

  22. Well done. It’s a pleasure to read a well-balanced article in all this buzz. I think you’re exactly right with the "living room computer". This device is not that much of a mobile device Apple wants to make us believe.
    I am looking forward to see building simulation games on this class of devices. The direct interaction UI paradigm could make them a lot more fun.
    On the other hand, I see Apple getting less creative. It’s the same old "sync your music an stuff" again. This is not the way to go. I am still waiting for the easy to use home server.
    Without a doubt, the iPad will be a success for Apple. However I don’t think it will be a revolution. All these "my mum/my grandma" people all those podcasters and bloggers think the iPad would be great for are either perfectly happy without computers (grandma) or happy if the computer at home works the same way as the computer at work (mom, Word, email, print)
    This comment was originally posted on codesurgeon blog



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